Summary: If we glimpse the glory that's coming tomorrow, we'll be able to carry the cross today
There were three sisters – ages 92, 94, and 96 – who lived together. One night, the 96-year-old drew a bath. She put one foot in, then paused. “Was I getting in the tub or out?” she yelled.
The 94-year-old hollered back, “I don't know, I'll come and see.” She started up the stairs, but stopped on the first one. She shouted, “Was I going up or coming down?”
The 92-year-old was sitting at the kitchen having tea, listening to her sisters with a smirk on her face. She shook her head and said, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful,” and knocked on wood for good measure. Then she yelled, “I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door.” (Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky; www.PreachingToday.com)
Sometimes life gets so confusing we don’t know if we’re coming or going even if we don’t have any dementia. Even so, it sure helps to know WHERE you’re going in those times.
In Mark 8, Jesus warned his followers that there were going to be hard and confusing times ahead, but He also gave them a way to endure the hardship. He gave them a way to get through the tough times with joy.
Mark 9:1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” (NIV)
Now, you have to remember that Jesus just told His disciples that they will suffer for His sake, that a cross awaits them. But that’s not all! There is a Kingdom on the other side of that cross, and Jesus tells them that some of them will see a powerful display of that Kingdom before they die. They will see the glory that awaits them after the pain. Well, they didn’t have to wait long.
Mark 9:2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. (NIV)
On that glorious and majestic Mount Herman, towering into the sky just north of Caesarea Philippi, on a mountain that many pagans in the area considered to be the home of the gods, there, in that place, Jesus was “transfigured.” He was changed right before their very eyes. The Greek word is metamorphothay, from which we get our word, metamorphosis. In other words, just like a worm changes into a butterfly, so Jesus’ appearance changed on that mountain.
Mark 9:3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. (NIV)
Jesus shone like the sun! It was as if the costume of His humanity was lifted, and the bright light of His deity shown through.
Later in life, Peter would recall this occasion and write, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
Towards the end of his life, John too would see Jesus like this again in all His glory. In the book of Revelation, John records that appearance of Christ before him personally and says, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace… (Revelation 1:14-15). Later, in the book of Revelation, John describes Christ’s appearance before the entire world at His second coming. He writes, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns” (Revelation 19:11-12).
You see, Peter, James and John, on this Mount of Transfiguration, caught a glimpse of what Jesus would look like when He returns to this earth to set up His Kingdom. They caught a glimpse of the glory ahead. But that’s not all.
Mark 9:4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. (NIV)
They saw the premier law-giver, Moses, and they saw the premier prophet, Elijah, talking with Jesus. In other words, they saw “the Kingdom of God come with power,” where the believers from all the ages will gather, and that’s what we need to see, if we’re going to endure the hard times with grace and joy. By faith, we need to see what’s coming for all of us who choose to follow Jesus. We need to…
GLIMPSE THE GLORY AHEAD.
We need to understand not just the pain, but the power to come. We need to appreciate not just the hard times, but the victory ahead. We need to grasp not just the cross, but the crown to follow.